You think you know just about everything about your little world. You get up everyday, wave to your neighbors and then head off to work. You know crazy Frank across the street and all the rest of your neighbors, especially if you've lived there a long time like I have.
I've lived in this home for 16 years. I thought I understood what was happening around me but last week I discovered something that proves I had no idea.
I ran into an old friend on Facebook, actually it was the older brother of a friend but still an old friend from the old neighborhood. We spent the better part of two days trading emails and pictures talking about times past and crazy people we knew. It was fun.
Casually, Facebook friend mentioned that another old friend had been on Facebook but disappeared. This old friend had the nick name of Doughboy. We all had nicknames then. Some made sense, some you had no idea where they came from and some were just out and out embarrassing.
For example, the friend that contacted me on Facebook was Woody. His younger brother's nickname was also Woody but the two never hung out together. One was with the older crowd and one was with the younger crowd so there wasn't really any ambiguity. Some how it worked. Oh sure, occasionally there was some confusion but it worked.
Down the street from Woody and Woody were the brothers Fof and Rat. Rat hung out with Woody. The Older Woody, the Woody that friended me on Facebook. Fof hung out with Woody (the younger) and I. It's confusing but it worked.
I actually remember the etymology of the nickname Fof. Fof's real name was Bob (Actually it it was probably Robert but that never stuck - Robert! Ha "Hello Is Robert coming out today?" Ha!). Bob morphed into Bof which beget Boffo, Boffo beget Foffo which was then shortened to just Fof. Fof stuck.
I have no idea were Rat came from and I didn't ask. It just wasn't done. You never went up to someone and said "why do they call you Rat?". It was like tugging on Superman's cape or pulling the cowl off Batman. I just wasn't done.
Don't even let me get me started on Fro, Fish and Bozo.
Anyway, I have no idea where Doughboy's nickname came from but I suspect it was due to his physique at the time.
So Woody (the older) mentioned that Doughboy (the only) lived in my current town in New Jersey. This is unusual since the entire nicknamed crew grew up west of Philly in Delaware County.
So I looked him up on 411.com and got a hit.
I recognized the street right away as one in my development but since I'm an idiot I DIDN'T REALIZE IT WAS ACROSS THE STREET until my wife told me.
Yes, an old friend, one that I had just missed on Facebook, lived across the street.
It was late when I 411'd him so I waited until the next day to call the number and when I did I found it was disconnected.
That night at dinner I told my wife I was going to go knock on the door and she told me to wait until Saturday. I didn't know that Saturday was the socially acceptable day for knocking on the door of old friends that you almost found on facebook through other old friends. I thought it was Wednesday. Saturday? I'm going to wait until Saturday? I don't think so.
I ignored her advice and knocked on the door.
It looked lived in through the front window and there were lights on. It's a section of Townhouses with reserved parking for each and so while waiting for someone to answer my knock, I'm counting spaces. They should be parked in spots marked "J" and there is a late model red Toyota in one of the two spots.
No one answers.
The next day at work and I'm still curious. The search for Doughboy is on. Did Doughboy live 500 feet from my house? For how long? I check the public records for my County and find that a woman with the same last name as Doughboy bought the place in 1999.
I find It's a thin line between friending someone on Facebook and stalking them and I may have inched a little closer to the line.
I don't care, I have to know the story.
There haven't been and new developments but I'm going to get in a traffic accident from rotating my neck around to see if there is a red Toyota parked in spot "J" when I drive home. I'm hooked. I have to know.
For the past 10 years I may have been walking my dogs past his house and have never known an old friend was right there and so Doughboy, if you are out there, leave a comment and tell me your story.